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  • #16
    Originally posted by broderickwells View Post
    The Teutonic Knights got several kinds of spanked in 1410 and became vassals of the Poles.
    I was about to post as much. Note how, yes, the Polish Kingdom got partitioned by Prussia, Russia and Austria, but when that happened, the Teutonic Order did not control any territory in the area. Nor can one claim that the Prussians were the heirs of the Teutonic Knights, they had booted them out of Prussia by 1525.

    As to competitive military traditions of the Prussians and the Poles, I note nobody has mentioned the Napoleonic Wars. Sure, the Prussians in the end were the winners - with the help of Britain, Russia, Austria-Hungary and more, and not before having been repeatedly defeated by French armies that featured a sizable Polish contingent.
    Michele

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Half Pint John View Post
      Sticking with the P/P Polish/Prussians history imo shows that the Prussians always came out on top. The original Prussians were all but totally wiped out by the Teutonic Knights and replaced by North Germans from the Bremen area. The Knights/Prussians extended their rule over much of the South Baltic Coast to include large areas that had been Polish. Advance a couple hundred years and then we have the partition of Poland 3 times by Prussia, Russia and Austria.

      Other than the Polish King John being the main figure in saving Vienna from the Turks, their brave defense in WWII, compared to the Prussians they come in second place when it come to a warrior tradition.
      There was a time when the Poles were one of the major powers in that part of Europe. With the Second Peace Treaty of Thorn, the Kingdom of Poland either controlled or had a hand in running Royal Prussia and Ducal Prussia. There were the Northern Wars in which Poland, Sweden, Russia ,and several other armies fought a series of wars for control of the northern Baltic Sea area. Here is a 1648 map http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Po...th_in_1648.PNG shortly before the Russo-Polish War of 1654-1667. It was during this time frame that The Deluge took place and effectively reduced the Commonwealth to a secondary power. The cost of all those wars and the strain on the population proved too much. That war helped elevate Russia to a serious power and also led to other lands taking control of Polish lands gained during the previous wars. That being said, Poland does have a history of strength for a few centuries. I think it is tough to say who was stronger or better. Maybe we just say both had their day and now we are at peace.
      "War is sorrowful, but there is one thing infinitely more horrible than the worst horrors of war, and that is the feeling that nothing is worth fighting for..."
      -- Harper's Weekly, December 31, 1864

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Michele View Post
        I was about to post as much. Note how, yes, the Polish Kingdom got partitioned by Prussia, Russia and Austria, but when that happened, the Teutonic Order did not control any territory in the area. Nor can one claim that the Prussians were the heirs of the Teutonic Knights, they had booted them out of Prussia by 1525.

        As to competitive military traditions of the Prussians and the Poles, I note nobody has mentioned the Napoleonic Wars. Sure, the Prussians in the end were the winners - with the help of Britain, Russia, Austria-Hungary and more, and not before having been repeatedly defeated by French armies that featured a sizable Polish contingent.
        Not sure you can say that the Teutonic Knights were booted out of Prussia, rather they became Prussia. The then Grand Master became the Duke of Prussia in 1525.
        "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Surrey View Post
          Not sure you can say that the Teutonic Knights were booted out of Prussia, rather they became Prussia. The then Grand Master became the Duke of Prussia in 1525.
          Actually he was no longer the Grand Master when he became Duke of Prussia. The Teutonic Knights, incidentally, were catholic, and the first Duke of Prussia and former Grand Master converted to protestantism in order to become Duke; he could have hardly remained a Grand Master of a catholic order.

          Additionally, if the Knights had "become" Prussia, then surely the Duke of Prussia would have owned Teutonic Knights' lands in places far afield like Tyrol and Lorraine, Lombardy and Bohemia. Instead those lands remained possessions of the order - which continued to exist, now as something entirely apart from Prussia.
          Michele

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Michele View Post
            Actually he was no longer the Grand Master when he became Duke of Prussia. The Teutonic Knights, incidentally, were catholic, and the first Duke of Prussia and former Grand Master converted to protestantism in order to become Duke; he could have hardly remained a Grand Master of a catholic order.

            Additionally, if the Knights had "become" Prussia, then surely the Duke of Prussia would have owned Teutonic Knights' lands in places far afield like Tyrol and Lorraine, Lombardy and Bohemia. Instead those lands remained possessions of the order - which continued to exist, now as something entirely apart from Prussia.
            All western Christians were originally Catholic. The order like the rest of western Christianity split at the Reformation with the part (but not all) of the Protestant part becoming the Duchy of Prussia following the Grand Master. As the Grand Master became the Duke, essentially the Dukedom was the successor to the Order?
            "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Surrey View Post
              All western Christians were originally Catholic. The order like the rest of western Christianity split at the Reformation with the part (but not all) of the Protestant part becoming the Duchy of Prussia following the Grand Master. As the Grand Master became the Duke, essentially the Dukedom was the successor to the Order?
              I'd say that if there is a continuation of a Catholic, papal- granted order, after the moment in time when a branch of that order goes heretic, then the continuation will be the part of the order that remains Catholic.

              But leaving aside the religious aspect, in order to claim that the Order "became Prussia", at least the way I see it, it would imply that the order as it was before that moment simply disappeared, and was entirely replaced by Prussia. Which is not the case, as mentioned the order continued to exist. I think the last remains of it - actual territorial holdings still scattered through Germany - were done away with in the early 1800s.

              What you are doing is identifying the territorial holdings of the Order in Prussia - certainly the mos timportant ones, but not the only ones - with the Order. That's a mistake, IMHO.

              Note how the Livonian branch of the Order continued to exist after 1525. It stillw as the Teutonic Order. It did not "become Prussia". Rather, later on, it followed suit; the Grand Master changed religion, secularized the _local_ possession of that branch of the Order, came to terms with regional secular powers, and carved a fief for himself.

              But, again, that did not affect the Teutonic order in Austria, say.

              I will agree with you if you say that the local Teutonic Order domains in Prussia became Prussia. Which is however different from what you stated.
              Michele

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Michele View Post
                I was about to post as much. Note how, yes, the Polish Kingdom got partitioned by Prussia, Russia and Austria, but when that happened, the Teutonic Order did not control any territory in the area. Nor can one claim that the Prussians were the heirs of the Teutonic Knights, they had booted them out of Prussia by 1525.

                As to competitive military traditions of the Prussians and the Poles, I note nobody has mentioned the Napoleonic Wars. Sure, the Prussians in the end were the winners - with the help of Britain, Russia, Austria-Hungary and more, and not before having been repeatedly defeated by French armies that featured a sizable Polish contingent.
                How about mentioning the Wars of Fredrick the Great, Austro-Prussian and Franco-Prussian? Does Poland have anything comparable to put up?
                Does Poland have a Fredrick? Clausewitz? von Moltke? (perhaps Schlieffen too, though controversial).
                "Amateurs study tactics; professionals study logistics"
                -Omar Bradley
                "Not everyone who studies logistics is a professional logistician, and there is no way to understand when you don't know what you don't know."
                -Anonymous US Army logistician

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by Javaman View Post
                  How about mentioning the Wars of Fredrick the Great, Austro-Prussian and Franco-Prussian? Does Poland have anything comparable to put up?
                  Does Poland have a Fredrick? Clausewitz? von Moltke? (perhaps Schlieffen too, though controversial).
                  Jan Sobieski - relieved the siege of Vienna, 1683.
                  Russo-Polish war of 1577-82, Polish-Muscovite war of 1605-18.

                  Tadeusz Kosciuszko is the first name that leaps to mind. It is kind of difficult, as much of Poland's expansionist phase was during the mid-late Middle Ages, and from the Renaissance forward, Poland was more in a holding pattern.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by broderickwells View Post
                    Jan Sobieski - relieved the siege of Vienna, 1683.
                    Russo-Polish war of 1577-82, Polish-Muscovite war of 1605-18.

                    Tadeusz Kosciuszko is the first name that leaps to mind. It is kind of difficult, as much of Poland's expansionist phase was during the mid-late Middle Ages, and from the Renaissance forward, Poland was more in a holding pattern.
                    Yes, and additionally, in that period, the roles were a bit more blurred; military leaders were more noblemen and landowners who also led armies, rather and before than professional generals. That goes for all other countries, of course.
                    That said, Poniatowski and Piłsudski also come to mind.
                    Michele

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Michele View Post
                      Yes, and additionally, in that period, the roles were a bit more blurred; military leaders were more noblemen and landowners who also led armies, rather and before than professional generals. That goes for all other countries, of course.
                      That said, Poniatowski and Piłsudski also come to mind.
                      If you're including those two then Rokossovsky should also be worthy of mention. J-man should do a little reading before opining in future!
                      Signing out.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
                        If you're including those two then Rokossovsky should also be worthy of mention. J-man should do a little reading before opining in future!
                        Right...

                        The original spark to this exchange was:

                        After all Poland was a nation forged by war with a proud martial tradition.

                        More so than the Prussians and Germans as a whole? Hardly.


                        If we built a score sheet of military achievements this is a very one sided affair...

                        I've done more than a little reading, quite a bit more...
                        "Amateurs study tactics; professionals study logistics"
                        -Omar Bradley
                        "Not everyone who studies logistics is a professional logistician, and there is no way to understand when you don't know what you don't know."
                        -Anonymous US Army logistician

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Whatever!
                          Signing out.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Javaman View Post
                            Right...

                            The original spark to this exchange was:

                            After all Poland was a nation forged by war with a proud martial tradition.

                            More so than the Prussians and Germans as a whole? Hardly.


                            If we built a score sheet of military achievements this is a very one sided affair...

                            I've done more than a little reading, quite a bit more...
                            As one of the instigators of this spark I think it is high time to wade into the fray
                            My knee jerk reaction to the statement that a Polish -German comparison in military prowess is a one sided affair, is that this is a one-sided representation of history that is in dire need for some counterbalance.

                            For the bigger period in history since we can speak of Germany (Middle Ages) it was a land of ‘Dichter und Denker’ (poets and thinkers). German lands were not united and its neighbors (notably France) could ride freely into it in order to wage war far more often than that Germans would wage war abroad. The divided German states were unable to do much against foreign incursions during much of this period till after the Napoleonic Wars. In such a climate a German martial culture hardly developed. Germans in general were well known for many cultural things but not for their warrior culture. Prussia was noticeable because it was so exceptional from the general German mould. Only after Prussia started to dominate Germany did this pattern change and became Germany associated with martial culture.
                            BoRG

                            You may not be interested in War, but War is interested in You - Leon Trotski, June 1919.

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                            • #29
                              I'd broadly agree Jeroen. The Prussians/Germans get a lot of press but their military record is far from stellar. Frederick the Great, for example, may have been a great king but of the twenty battles he commanded in he lost ten! Had it not been for British financial support and the timely death of a Russian monarch he would have been largely forgotten outside Germany and cursed within it.
                              Signing out.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Well... define martial tradition then? Are you asking about a win/loss ratio? Warrior tradition? Overall effect on military philosophy over the centuries?

                                What exactly are you looking for?

                                The Prussians/Germans get a lot of press but their military record is far from stellar. Frederick the Great, for example, may have been a great king but of the twenty battles he commanded in he lost ten! Had it not been for British financial support and the timely death of a Russian monarch he would have been largely forgotten outside Germany and cursed within it.
                                Right....

                                I don't suppose you could put Frederick's battles in proper context by including the odds? Napolean considered Frederick one of the best generals that ever lived and said something like "Gentlemen, if this man were still alive I would not be here" as he visited Frederick's tomb. You do not agree apparently?

                                An earlier mention of Tadeusz Kosciuszko brings to mind someone Frederick sent to the Americans, Baron von Steuben? Would you consider the engineer Kosciuszko of greater importance than Steuben?
                                "Amateurs study tactics; professionals study logistics"
                                -Omar Bradley
                                "Not everyone who studies logistics is a professional logistician, and there is no way to understand when you don't know what you don't know."
                                -Anonymous US Army logistician

                                Comment

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